‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ opera returns to WCSU for holiday season

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University’s Opera Ensemble will stage Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in two performances during this holiday season. This year’s production will mark the 17th annual WCSU Opera Ensemble presentation of the English-language opera that was originally broadcast live on the NBC television network on Dec. 24, 1951.

The one-act opera will be at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Tickets are $10; children and seniors will be admitted for $5, and admission is free for WCSU students with valid I.D. To purchase tickets in advance, call (203) 837-TIXX or visit www.wcsu.edu/tickets. Tickets also will be sold at the door.

Directed by Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup, “Amahl and the Night Visitors” has become a popular seasonal tradition providing an inspirational and universal message of giving and community unity to family audiences of many faiths for the past 16 years.

Inspired by Menotti’s fond memories of Christmas during his childhood in Italy, the opera tells the story of a poor and crippled shepherd boy and his miraculous encounter with the Three Kings on their pilgrimage to Bethlehem.

The cast of “Amahl” uses the entire concert hall as their stage, giving audience members the feeling that they are participants in the opera, too. Amahl and the kings sing and meander through the auditorium and the shepherds emerge from the audience. The 50-minute opera has captivated audiences, appealing to people of all ages and musical tastes, with its mix of tuneful melodies, dancing rhythms and delightful choruses.

This year’s cast includes Lucas Hernandez, of Hamden, and Christopher Jessup, of New Canaan, double-cast in the role of Amahl. Lauren Brown, of Danbury, and Lisa Murray, of Norwalk, will appear as Amahl’s mother. The roles of the kings include: Erick Sanchez, of Stamford, and Andrew Gadwah, of Meriden, as Kaspar; Brendan Stone, of Wolcott, and Zachary Ross, of Branford, as Melchior; and Jean Carlos Rodriguez, of Waterbury, as Balthazar. Wesley Marchena, of New Milford, and Nick Ciasulla, of Naugutuck, will appear as the kings’ page. Carly Phypers, of Brewster, N.Y.; Tyler Campbell, of Milford; Caroline Strange, of Southbury; and Ryan Reynolds, of New Fairfield, are featured as dancers.

For more information, contact the office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486. To purchase tickets, call (203) 837-TIXX or visit www.wcsu.edu/tickets.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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